We was robbed – twice!
The tenth Inter Livery Ski Championships was held again in Morzine on 24th and 25th January and Phoenix was there to fly the flag. Over 300 liverymen from 40 Livery Companies attended the event which has already raised over £60,000 for the Lord Mayors’ Appeals, The Championships was originally an event designed to bring together old and young from all the livery companies in an environment far removed from dinners and dinner jackets and the pomp of City life. Not only is the event held in a foreign country but those that attend participate in fancy colours with big boots and long skis which is a great leveller. Although generally the young ski faster and better than the old but not always. There are many who thought they had given up skiing let alone racing and suddenly find they have fellow skiers to accompany them down the mountains and into the restaurants. The oldest skier was 80 and the youngest 20.
Phoenix were represented for the first time this year and competed both as individuals and as a Past Masters Association. Sheriff Liz Green travelled to Morzine with her husband Peter to lead our team. Other members were Tim Haywood (Mercers), Geoffrey Preston (Barbers), David Woodd (Salters) and George Bastin (Ironmongers).
The skiing competitions began on Wednesday with a separate competition organised by Snow Camp, a charity founded in 2003, to support inner-city young people by providing a year-long programme of snow sports at artificial and indoor ski slopes in the UK. The competition was a distance challenge where the competing teams had to cover as many kilometres as they could in 2½ hours. Over 20 teams competed and many of them skied over 50 Km. The event raised over £14K. The Phoenix Team decided not to compete thereby preserving what little energy they had for the following two days.
On Thursday a dual parallel slalom was a qualifying race to provide a starting number for the following day’s Giant Slalom (GS). It was run with those who had raced in previous years being seeded and those who had not raced before following on. This was disadvantageous to our brave team since only one of us was seeded and the others had to take their turn and ski on a rutted and icy piste. The situation was made worse by the fact that our noble Sheriff Liz Green was on duty at the Old Bailey and couldn’t make the qualifying race at all leaving her racing at the end on a piste that had already had over 200 racers on it.
The GS course was long and exciting and was skied in excellent conditions. The Phoenix Team were not only racing for their own Companies but also for a trophy awarded to the fastest Past Masters Association. The trophy was a teapot that had been donated by the 2010 Past Masters Association ‘To the Power of Ten’ or TPOT, hence the trophy. The organisers decided that a change in what constitutes a past masters association should be introduced and the current Masters should be allowed to form a team although technically they are past the chair. This change naturally favours the current masters in that they were almost bound to be younger.
Liz Green’s time was muddled up with another skier and this muddied the waters still further. Although the Actuaries declared that the current masters won the TPOT trophy, after the event the timings were recalculated and it was found that the Phoenix Team beat the current masters by some margin. We were robbed not once but twice. However magnanimous as we are we have decided to allow the decision to stand. The current masters received their trophy from the Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin who had travelled from the World Economic Forum in Davos to be in Morzine for the prizegiving.
Next year we hope that more Phoenix Masters will attend with their Companies and make 2020 an even better year than 2019. We have a ‘virtual’ trophy to defend after all!
1st February 2019